Feb 15, 2011 12:00AM

Edward Burtynsky's Oil Culture

Winner of the 2010 And/Or Book Award for Photography.

An epiphany is a wonderful thing. It is a moment of pure clarity amongst the clutter. I think my last epiphany was realising what I wanted to have for lunch today, but somehow I don't think that qualifies. Especially when you compare it to someone like Edward Burtynsky.

In 1997 he had an epiphany that the industrial landscape surrounding us was only made possible by the discovery of oil and the mechanical advantage of the internal combustion engine. OK. You win, Edward.

After this realisation he spent the next ten years of his life researching and photographing every oil field than he could get within a tripod of. Freeways, refineries and automobile plants all feature, and it's amazing to marvel at what the human race are capable of building - and on the flip side, what we are capable of destroying.

The grotesquely beautiful series of photographs documents the culture of oil and raises questions about the future of the environment.

Rather than pointing the finger, Burtynsky's work is more of a series of visual notations, some of which provoke an eerie feeling that these are images we're not really supposed to be seeing. The resulting book of photographs, Oil, was recently awarded the 2010 And/Or Book Award for Photography.

Whether you're interested in photography, the environment, or both, Burtynsky's series will definitely give you food for thought.

Words: Airlie Winter-Irving

www.edwardburtynsky.com

Latest


LFW Diary: Day #4 & #5 Feat. Ryan Lo, Fashion East & More

Plus backstage images from Ryan Lo’s tropical paradise.


Watch The Bell Knox Documentary Series

The Duke adult film star on being outed and #pornstarproblems.


Ashish Repped Kim & Kanye @ LFW

As well as One Direction, Miley Cyrus and amyl.


Andreja Pejic Did A Reddit AMA

Read the highlights.


Burberry Prorsum SS15 Show Notes @ LFW

Spring time, ring a ding a ding time!


Lena Dunham & Bill Cosby Share Words To Live By

And other things we learnt from her Proust Questionaire.


Grimes Drops Amazing 'Bedtime Mix' On BBC Radio 1

Feat. Aphex Twin, Patsy Cline, Portishead and more.


Frank Ocean Gets New Management

Signs with Calvin Harris and Deadmau5 group.


Snoop Dogg Tweets, Instagrams Homophobic Slur

Then deletes it less than an hour later.


Oyster Playlist: Nicky Night Time

A celebration of cut and paste.


Holly Childs Is Your New Favourite Young Oz Writer [Interview]

We talk to the Melbourne-based writer, editor, internet artist and curator for Oyster #105.


Australian Artist Jonathan Zawada Tattoos Billionaires [Interview]

We talk rainbows, sportswear and Aussies in LA in Oyster #105.


Exclusive: Stream Perfume Genius' 'Too Bright' Album

PLUS read his Imaginary Dating Profile!


News Flash: Everyone Is Single

For the first time ever, singles are the majority.


Beyonce MIGHT Be Pregnant Again

Jay's words guys...Jay's words.


Amy Winehouse's Statue Is Staring At You

Look into the eyes, the eyes, the eyes.


Video Emerges Of Kanye West's Wheelchair Gaff

"Oh.... they ARE in a wheelchair?? Right LET'S DO THIS."


Copycat: Shop The Best Looks In Australian Film

You won't look terrible, Muriel.


Local Legends: 'Film Fatales' Is Your New Favourite Zine [Interview]

The new issue features Tavi's college application essay. WAT.


Win — Hansen & Gretel Wardrobe!

Everything in this shoot could be yours.


LFW Diary: Day #1 & #2 Feat. Nasir Mazhar, Sibling & More

Getting up close and personal with SS15 in London town.


'XS' Shot by FEELTHEFUTURE In Oyster #105

From our 20th Anniversary 'Down Under' issue!


Indigenous Icon Bart Willoughby's Got Something To Say [Interview]

Talking to the award-winning musician for Oyster #105.